Rationale: Pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive disease with only few treatment options available at the moment. Recently, the nucleoside uridine has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in different animal models, e.g. in acute lung injury or bronchial asthma.
Method: Therefore, we investigated the influence of uridine supplementation on inflammation and fibrosis in the classical bleomycin model. Male C57BL/6 mice received an intratracheal injection of bleomycin on day 0 and were treated intraperitoneally with uridine or vehicle. The degree of inflammation and fibrosis was assessed at different time points.
Results: Uridine administration resulted in attenuated inflammation, as demonstrated by reduced leukocytes and pro-inflammatory cytokines in the broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Furthermore, collagen deposition in the lung interstitium was also reduced by uridine supplementation. Similar results were obtained in a model in which animals received repeated intraperitoneal bleomycin injections. In addition uridine inhibited collagen and TGF-ß synthesis by primary lung fibroblasts, the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines by human lung epithelial cells, as well as the production of reactive oxygen species by human neutrophils.
Conclusion: In summary, we were able to show that uridine has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties. As uridine supplementation has been shown to be well tolerated and safe in humans, this might be a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of fibrotic lung diseases.